State Department officials have blamed delays in publishing Hillary Clinton's private emails on the "strain" of the workload, but court documents filed Tuesday evening indicate the agency has forbidden anyone without a "top secret" security clearance from screening the emails.

The strict requirements have slowed agency attempts to hire 50 new staffers to speed the process of screening Clinton's emails, which will be published in batches at the end of each month until January 2016.

In a lengthy declaration to the court, John Hackett, the State Department's top Freedom of Information Act officer, said just three reviewers have been assigned to the open records office since the agency began recruiting new staff at the beginning of September.

Just two new staff have been added to the team tasked with providing State Department documents to Congress, despite repeated calls from the House Select Committee on Benghazi to hand over records that were requested months ago.

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Hackett said reviewers must have top secret clearance because they "cannot know from the outset whether they will be handling classified information." The reviewers must also have extensive government experience so they can properly identify different types of information.

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